Erovo Impact Investment Workshop – Edition 2: Enhancing Catalytic Finance

July 1, 2023 0 Comments

The second edition of the Erovo Impact Investment Workshop has yet again raised a platform aimed at promoting impact investing and connecting social entrepreneurs with investors in Uganda. Drawing from a rich program, the half-day workshop held in Kampala, Uganda in June 2023 was punctuated with inspiring speeches, entrepreneur testimonials, panel discussion on venture capital strategies, and pitching sessions from social enterprises.

While welcoming participants, Brian Mangeni, CEO Einstein & East Africa Manager, OVO noted that, “The goal of the workshop is creating jobs through getting investment, local and foreign together, in order to develop enterprises.”

The workshop was organized by Einstein Rising, a social eco system builder and OVO, an organisation made up of volunteers who also double as investors from Belgium with a lot of experience from different roles in the corporate world of Europe along with SB4u (Sustainable Business Platform for Uganda) and the European Union which provided the funding for the Erovo workshop.

“Our engagement with the SB4u goes beyond the workshop. Our prime purpose is to see a handful of reliable and feasible investment projects that can create the impact that is being desired,” commented Dev Chamroo, Trade and Investment OVO.

Delivering his keynote speech, Steefan Deckmyn from BAN Vlaanderen said: “It all starts with African entrepreneurs coming up with business ideas that are sustainable, durable and address critical needs in the local market. Uganda has good entrepreneurs, great young and ambitious people with a lot of enthusiasm.” “We add to that resource some expertise whereby seasoned entrepreneurs from Europe that have a career but would like to do something more are engaged. This includes providing services at terms that are not purely commercial so most of the people at OVO are volunteers that work and provide coaching for free to get you into a viable ecosystem,” he said.

From the previous workshop, the platform was able to get about eight (8) businesses that were pitched. The second workshop looked at the success so far achieved by businesses after the exercise from the first workshop.

Elvis Kadhama, Founder & CEO, Essymart commented, “We do our work through the use an online platform which enables small-holder farmers to buy these inputs online. We got approved for EUR 15,000 which is helping us improve our services.”

Arnold Mugaga from Zetu Africa said, “We got an invitation from Einstein Rising to present at the Impact Day and from this presentation we were invited for a boot camp with OVO and a group of volunteers. That process has culminated into an investment into our working capital to buy the materials for our commercial bags in bulk. This has dropped our unit cost and made us a bit more competitive.”

“We came to OVO to raise EUR 50,000. After going through our business plan, they offered us EUR 30,000. We were able to raise the other EUR 20,000 with blending financing through Equity Bank”, said Annah Namuli, Managing Director, NAPAS Agro Processors.

During the panel discussion, participants got to hear insights from various industry experts and advisors on investment. “It’s important to have an impact lense when you invest. Investors also need to be awake to the fact that they have to be very strict so that impact contributes to the bottom line,” Norah Koigi Ngare, Director, DEAL Flow Faclitiy, FSD-Uganda.

“It’s all about connection… how can I find an invitation to have a conversation with an investor?” Lauren Hendricks, CEO KEIPhone commented. Erovo workshops are helping to build momentum and drive positive change through catalyzing more impact capital and partnerships in Uganda’s impact investing space. The workshops address pertinent investment issues related to entrepreneurship, blended finance, impact investing, ESG, or economic development in emerging markets like Uganda. To this end, participants have called it a huge success and milestone for the country’s impact ecosystem.